When I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at 19 I thought that was it for me. I would never be able to do all the things I have ever dreamed of. So I wrote a list of everything I had wanted so that my family and friends could do it for me so I knew they got to experience life even if I didn’t. Fortunately though I pulled through and almost 2 years on I am still on treatment but slowly I am ticking off the things on my list.
I started with little things like joining a gym and losing weight which I'd gained during treatment. Then once I was strong enough, I went on holiday at New Year with my boyfriend to Disneyland Paris for the first time ever. It was amazing and due to being left with bone damage from treatment I am classed as disabled so we got a fast pass that allowed us to the front of the queue which was amazing and I got to meet Mickey Mouse.
Earlier this year I got a group of patients and our families and friends to run the race for life with me and we raised £366.56 between us for Cancer Research. This means a lot to me because they have done so much for me and my friends.
Next on the list was Amsterdam. So me, my boyfriend and a few friends booked our holiday and set off. It was an amazing trip and we got to do so much, eating in a steak house and climbing an amazing church tower to see the beautiful view.
Next up it was time to cross off the biggest thing on my list - Skydiving!
I booked my place on a charity skydive ages ago and started raising money but the nearer the time it got, the more anxious I became. I was terrified and kept saying I couldn’t do it. I was frightened that my heart might stop or my brain would just shut down or that the parachute wouldn’t open. My friends where absolutely amazing though and kept me strong and made me get on the bus.
When we got there (after a 3 hour drive) there was bad weather so the diving had been postponed to the afternoon which meant we had a 6 hour wait. This wait gave me a lot of time to worry and think off more things to go wrong, but once I saw other go up and land safely I felt a lot better. Eventually it was our turn and I was shaking but feeling braver than I had all week. We got into our suits and all strapped up and climbed into our plane. I was with two amazing young fighters, Jess and Kyle. Jess was more nervous than me which I didn’t think was possible!
We took off (which I was a little worried about as on the way to Amsterdam I discovered I’m not good at take off) but I was ok I was just focusing on my breathing and listening to my instructor telling me what would happen and how I should react to certain things. He kept me calm which I am extremely grateful for.
Kyle went first and I will never forget the sight of watching him just roll out of the door of a plane, man it scared me. Jess was meant to go next but I think seeing Kyle go put her off, so I was waved forward. As we edged towards the door I did a lot of swearing and I couldn’t quite believe I was doing this. Before we went up jess said to me “as long as you tell me everything will be ok, I’ll be fine because I always am when you say that” but the last things she saw of me was me swearing and looking panicked. I think this scared her more but I’m so proud she made it down not far behind me.
As we were free falling 13000 feet in the air all I could think was “oh my goodness ,I am flying!” It is the most amazing experience of your life - so exhilarating and you never want it to end. It's truly amazing! As the parachute went up I was shocked because I'd completely forgotten about it - I loved free falling so much I didn’t want to slow down!
When we where under the parachute the instructor showed me the view and it was magnificent. It was around 7pm so the sun was setting and it was so beautiful. You can’t even imagine it because it was truly out of this world. I really wish I’d had a camera. I was then handed the rope that controlled the parachute and it was my turn to drive. I pulled left and we span that way, then I pulled right and we span the opposite way. It was awesome! I had complete control of us, it was scary but amazing.
It was a shame to land but it had to happen and this was slightly painful but the relief that you’re still alive is unexplainable! Once I was unhooked, I went to find Jess who had just landed on her bum next to me and had a look of complete shock on her face. When I got to her she was refusing to move because she didn’t think she was alive and we had to convince her she was. She was hilarious!
All together there was 11 of us doing the skydive as a team. 9 of us were or are cancer patients with the other two members of the team comprising of youth workers from the unit and one wonderful lady who was doing it in memory of her sister who had always wanted to do a skydive. It was an absolute honour to skydive with these amazingly brave young people. I am so proud of them all and I couldn’t off done it without them and they really did give me the strength to do it.
All together we raised £7666.42 which is amazing and I’m so so grateful to everyone who donated and supported us - what an amazing experience!
Next on my list is to watch Wicked on a live stage, which is a little safer than my last challenge but I love the theatre so I’m so excited to go and see this amazing performance.
After that, I’m off to America with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins and I can’t wait. A ten day holiday in the sun going on rides all day and getting to play with my cousins in Disneyworld is just what the doctor ordered!
I really can’t believe how far I have come and how much I have achieved so far and I still have so much I want to do and more money I want to raise. I still have my charity ball for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and then hopefully I will be climbing Ben Nevis next year for the Lease for Life cancer charity who pay for young cancer patients to go on days out as a group which really is a big thing for young patients.
I am well and truly in love with life and so excited for what tomorrow will bring.
Find out more about the Manchester Charity Ball